[Kansas City.com] The numerous tattoos were familiar, but otherwise the newest Chiefs offensive lineman was hard to place on his first day at practice Tuesday.
Kyle Turley’s once long and wild hair was now closely cropped. His once-thick body, 310 pounds when he was one of the league’s best tackles for New Orleans and St. Louis, was down to a tight-end-like 275.
The Chiefs are OK with these changes if Turley’s play is recognizable. Turley was out of football for the last two seasons because of back problems, but the Chiefs immediately made him a candidate for the starting right tackle by giving him a handful of snaps there on Tuesday.
Turley will probably win the job if he can show he hasn’t lost his skills. He also must prove to the Chiefs he can play at a weight less than 300 pounds, which he will have to do because of back concerns.
Neither Turley nor the Chiefs appeared worried about either issue.
“I’m not too concerned about the weight,” Turley said. “Football is a technique game. Obviously, you can’t be where I was at 235 pounds to play offensive line. I definitely needed to put on some weight. But once you get up there and your strength is back, it’s basically leverage and quickness and body position. It’s more of a mental game than a physical game for the most part once you get up to 275 or 280.”
The Chiefs have a number of candidates to choose from on the right side, but none as polished or accomplished as Turley. He also provides emergency help in case of injury to left tackle Willie Roaf.
The Chiefs struggled without Roaf last season when he missed several games because of hamstring problems.
To accommodate the Chiefs, Turley had to gain weight. If all goes well, he will play at about 285 or 290 pounds.
“The ultimate goal has always been to get back to (playing) tackle,” Turley said. “Obviously, I’ve had a lot of things fighting against that with the back injury and the weight-loss situation. I’ve fought back from that, and it’s continuing to come back very well. The weight is coming back strong and I’m keeping it in a good form, so it’s as much as I can put on and whatever the doctors say my back can handle.”
“It’s good weight. It’s not weight I’m putting on eating a bunch of pizzas.”